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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2012

Therapy farm seeks to offer charter school

OK from Oregon district’s board asked

The director of an animal therapy farm in Oregon who is seeking to form a new charter school made a pitch to Oregon school officials Monday to be the school’s sponsor.

The Oregon school board did not take action Monday night.

Joy Vail of Vail Meadows, a 25-acre farm with 35 horses and other animals, said the proposed school would be for 25 to 50 students in grades 7 to 12. “They’re not bad kids,” Ms. Vail said. “They’re kids who are not functioning well in either a public or parochial school or home schooling. They don’t work well with a structured school system.”

Under the plan, students would learn math and English and the core subjects as well as riding, gardening, and other skills on the farm as a form of therapy.

The school would be open to students regardless of where they lived. State funding that went to their home districts would follow them to the charter school.

If the Oregon school district decides to be a sponsoring agency, it would not supply any funding, staff, or building space for the charter school but would provide some administrative and financial oversight, Superintendent Michael Zalar said.

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